Veronika made her first graph today! Okay, so there was lots of mommy help involved, but large building blocks and a large sheet of butcher paper make this particular graph quite toddler-friendly.
First, I taped down a long piece of paper to the floor with painter’s tape, then marked off 4 columns using washi tape. At the bottom of the graph, I traced 4 of her block shapes. I chose ones that are newer to her (archways, semi-circles) now that she’s mastered early ones like triangles and squares. And of course you can include more than 4 categories if you’re doing this activity with a preschooler.
Now it was up to Veronika to place each block in the right column. “Where does the semicircle go?” I could prompt her. “With the semicircles!” she chimed in. It wasn’t an activity that she was motivated to complete on her own, but if I asked a leading question for a block, she knew where to put it.
Then we flipped over the paper and repeated the activity, but this time making a graph by color!
This version was even easier for her to complete. “It goes with the yellow,” she might say, picking up a yellow block and adding it to the yellow column.
Did she entirely understand that we were making a mathematical graph to compare the amount of blocks by shape or color? Not yet, of course, but it was a great early intro to sorting and graphing. The large visual at the end was neat to see.
After that I challenged her to stack her blocks by shape, too. Preschoolers can get really creative with this part, perhaps attempting a tower all out of triangles, or all out of semicircles.
One thing is for sure: this was yet another great way to get novel play out of our blocks!